The Moral Foundations of Politics - Video
by Ian Shapiro
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This course explores main answers to the question "when do governments deserve our allegiance?" It starts with a survey of major political theories of the Enlightenment—Utilitarianism, Marxism, and the social contract tradition—through classical formulations, historical context, and contemporary debates relating to politics today. It then turns to the rejection of Enlightenment political thinking. Lastly, it deals with the nature of, and justifications for, democratic politics, and their relations to Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment political thinking. Practical implications of these arguments are covered through discussion of a variety of concrete problems.
|1||Video01 - Informational and Housekeeping Session||Professor Shapiro explains the format and structure of the class during this opening session.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|2||Video02 - Introductory Lecture||The trial of Adolf Eichmann, as presented in Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, is the topic of discussion.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|3||Video03 - Natural Law Roots of the Social Contract Tradition||Before exploring the three Enlightenment traditions in particular, Professor Shapiro examines the Enlightenment holistically, using John Locke as the foundation for the discussion.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|4||Video04 - Origins of Classical Utilitarianism||Jeremy Bentham's formulation of classical utilitarianism is the first Enlightenment tradition that the course will cover in depth.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|5||Video05 - Classical Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice||Professor Shapiro continues his examination of Jeremy Bentham's formulation of classical utilitarianism, with a focus on the distributive implications of the theory of "maximizing the greatest happiness of the greatest number."||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|6||Video06 - From Classical to Neoclassical Utilitarianism||In this economics-oriented lecture, Prof. Shapiro introduces neoclassical utilitarianism as it was formulated by economist Vilfredo Pareto and further described by Francis Edgeworth.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|7||Video07 - The Neoclassical Synthesis of Rights and Utility||John Stuart Mill's synthesis rights and utility follows naturally in the vein of neoclassical utilitarianism, and it attempts to compensate for many of the shortcomings of Bentham's classical utilitarianism.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|8||Video08 - Limits of the Neoclassical Synthesis||Although the harm principle as introduced in the last lecture seems straightforward at first glance, today Professor Shapiro discusses its ambiguities.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|9||Video09 - The Marxian Challenge||Marxism is the second Enlightenment tradition upon which the course will focus. Contrary to popular belief, Marx did not hate capitalism but derived from economic analysis that it would self-destruct and lead to socialism.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|10||Video10 - Marx's Theory of Capitalism||Today, Professor Shapiro continues his discussion of Enlightenment theory of Karl Marx, focusing on the foundations of his theory of capitalism.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|11||Video11 - Marxian Exploitation and Distributive Justice||Exploitation is an important technical--not normative--concept in the theory of Karl Marx.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|12||Video12 - The Marxian Failure and Legacy||We previously established that the reality of scarcity invalidates Marx's core idea of superabundance, and mortally wounds his theory.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|13||Video13 - Appropriating Locke Today||The final Enlightenment tradition left to be explored in this course is social contract theory, for which we must return to Locke and somehow secularize his views and reconcile them with the refutation of natural rights.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|14||Video14 - Rights as Side Constraints and the Minimal State||Professor Shapiro dives more deeply into Robert Nozick's theory of the minimal, or night watchman, state.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|15||Video15 - Compensation versus Redistribution||The class's examination of Nozick's minimal state has raised a number of important questions, most of which are rooted in his troublesome model of compensation.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|16||Video16 - The Rawlsian Social Contract||The next and final Enlightenment tradition to be examined in the class is that of John Rawls, was a hugely important figure not only in contemporary political philosophy, but also in the field of philosophy as a whole.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|17||Video17 - Distributive Justice and the Welfare State||The main focus of today's discussion is Rawls's third, and most problematic, principle is the difference principle, which states that income and wealth is to be distributed "to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged individual."||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|18||Video18 - The "Political-not-Metaphysical" Legacy||The mature Rawls departed quite a bit from his earlier theory of justice, choosing instead an overlapping consensus, or political, not metaphysical approach.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|19||Video19 - The Burkean Outlook||Edmund Burke was an English politician who wrote his Reflections on the Revolution in France to express his disdain for the destructive havoc wrought by the French Revolution.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|20||Video20 - Contemporary Communitarianism (I)||In addition to the traditionalist-conservative view covered last time, the other anti-Enlightenment school the course explores is contemporary communitarianism.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|21||Video21 - Contemporary Communitarianism (II)||In this lecture, Professor Shapiro delves into the nuances of MacIntyre's argument, focusing specifically on his Aristotelian account of human psychology.||4/4/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|22||Video22 - Democracy and Majority Rule (I)||Professor Shapiro transitions today to the third and final section of the course, an in-depth look at democracy and its institutions.||4/5/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|23||Video23 - Democracy and Majority Rule (II)||Majority rule and democratic competition serve as the focus of this, second lecture on the democratic tradition.||4/5/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|24||Video24 - Democratic Justice: Theory||Professor Shapiro takes up again Schumpeter's minimalist conception of democracy.||4/5/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
|25||Video25 - Democratic Justice: Applications||Professor Shapiro guides the class through some practical applications of his theory of democratic justice.||4/5/2011||Free||View In iTunes|
So far so good!
As of today, I have listened to the first two lectures. I find the lectures to be engaging and thought-provoking. I look forward to seeing the whole lecture series in the weeks to come.
Activating and stimulating my thought process
I have graduated college almost 4 yrs ago and these lectures really got me thinking outside the box. I enjoyed re-learning these basic political theories!
Great course on what underlies our political structures and dogmas.